Eastern Wood-Pewee

ID Info
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee
Silhouette FlycatchersFlycatchers

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Contopus virens
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Tyrannidae
Basic Description

The olive-brown Eastern Wood-Pewee is inconspicuous until it opens its bill and gives its unmistakable slurred call: pee-a-wee!—a characteristic sound of Eastern summers. These small flycatchers perch on dead branches in the mid-canopy and sally out after flying insects. Though identifying flycatchers can be confusing, pewees are grayer overall, with longer wings, than other flycatchers. They lack the eyerings of the Empidonax species, while they’re less brown (with stronger wingbars) than a phoebe. With a careful look they’re quite distinctive.

More ID Info
image of range map for Eastern Wood-PeweeRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

The Eastern Wood-Pewee’s plaintive song of three sliding notes (pee-a-weeeee) is distinctive and easy to learn. It makes finding these woodland birds fairly straightforward. It helps that male Eastern Wood-Pewees are inveterate singers, belting out song nearly throughout the day. Look for small, olive-colored birds making sallies and watch such birds until they perch; Eastern Wood-Pewees pause frequently after sallying, which usually enables you to study them well.

Other Names
  • Pibí Oriental (Spanish)
  • Pioui de l'Est (French)

Backyard Tips

Like other flycatchers, pewees usually don’t come to feeders. They may visit wooded backyards or property adjacent to patches of forests or woodlands.

  • Cool Facts